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Prog Energy Combust Sci. 2010 Aug 1;36(4). doi: 10.1016/j.pecs.2009.12.003.

Mercury capture by native fly ash carbons in coal-fired power plants.

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University of Kentucky, Center for Applied Energy Research, 2540 Research Park Drive, Lexington, KY 40511 (1+859-257-0261; ).


The control of mercury in the air emissions from coal-fired power plants is an on-going challenge. The native unburned carbons in fly ash can capture varying amounts of Hg depending upon the temperature and composition of the flue gas at the air pollution control device, with Hg capture increasing with a decrease in temperature; the amount of carbon in the fly ash, with Hg capture increasing with an increase in carbon; and the form of the carbon and the consequent surface area of the carbon, with Hg capture increasing with an increase in surface area. The latter is influenced by the rank of the feed coal, with carbons derived from the combustion of low-rank coals having a greater surface area than carbons from bituminous- and anthracite-rank coals. The chemistry of the feed coal and the resulting composition of the flue gas enhances Hg capture by fly ash carbons. This is particularly evident in the correlation of feed coal Cl content to Hg oxidation to HgCl2, enhancing Hg capture. Acid gases, including HCl and H2SO4 and the combination of HCl and NO2, in the flue gas can enhance the oxidation of Hg. In this presentation, we discuss the transport of Hg through the boiler and pollution control systems, the mechanisms of Hg oxidation, and the parameters controlling Hg capture by coal-derived fly ash carbons.


Mercury; coal; fly ash; pollution control; unburned carbon

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